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Tag: DNA

FBI Uncovers Remains in Dig for Long-Missing Mob Victim in Rhode Island

Steven DiSarro

Steven DiSarro

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI found human remains behind a Providence, Rhode Island, the week while digging for the body of a mob victim missing since 1993.

But the Boston Herald reports that it’s not yet clear whether the remains belong to Steven DiSarro, a former South Boston nightclub owner.

The remains are being examined for DNA by the Rhode Island State Medical Examiner’s office.

DiSarro, who was an associate of the late former New England mob boss Frank Salemme Jr., disappeared in 1993 at the age of 43.

Salemme was sentenced to five years in prison in 2008 for making false statements to the FBI about the murder of DiSarro, but he has denied being involved with DiSarro’s death.

First Retrial Granted for Case Involving Questionable FBI Hair Samples

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Recent admissions by the FBI that its experts have overstated the scientific veracity of forensic hair have led to the first conviction to be overturned.

The Washington Post reports that a Massachusetts man was granted a new trial after spending 30 years in prison for rape.

In April, the FBI and Justice Department confirmed that linking DNA hair testing to crimes “exceeded the limits of science” after the evidence was used to incriminate hundreds of suspects.

A White House-appointed commission, along with the FBI and Justice Department, are working on strengthening forensic science standards.

Errors were uncovered in more than 1,300 cases involving hair samples.

New York Times: FBI’s Junk Science Leads to Wrongful Convictions, More Questions

By Editorial Board
New York Times

The odds were 10-million-to-one, the prosecution said, against hair strands found at the scene of a 1978 murder of a Washington, D.C., taxi driver belonging to anyone but Santae Tribble. Based largely on this compelling statistic, drawn from the testimony of an analyst with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Tribble, 17 at the time, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 20 years to life.

But the hair did not belong to Mr. Tribble. Some of it wasn’t even human. In 2012, a judge vacated Mr. Tribble’s conviction and dismissed the charges against him when DNA testing showed there was no match between the hair samples, and that one strand had come from a dog.

Mr. Tribble’s case — along with the exoneration of two other men who served decades in prison based on faulty hair-sample analysis — spurred the F.B.I. to conduct a sweeping post-conviction review of 2,500 cases in which its hair-sample lab reported a match.

The preliminary results of that review, which Spencer Hsu of The Washington Post reported last week, are breathtaking: out of 268 criminal cases nationwide between 1985 and 1999, the bureau’s “elite” forensic hair-sample analysts testified wrongly in favor of the prosecution, in 257, or 96 percent of the time. Thirty-two defendants in those cases were sentenced to death; 14 have since been executed or died in prison.

The agency is continuing to review the rest of the cases from the pre-DNA era. The Justice Department is working with the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to notify the defendants in those cases that they may have grounds for an appeal. It cannot, however, address the thousands of additional cases where potentially flawed testimony came from one of the 500 to 1,000 state or local analysts trained by the F.B.I. Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, rightly called this a “complete disaster.”

To read more click here. 

FBI Confirms Most Wanted Terrorist Killed in Philippines Raid

Zulkifli bin Hir

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists was killed in a raid in the Philippines in January, CNN reports.

Zulkifli bin Hir, the Malaysian bomber known as Marwan, was confirmed dead following DNA tests, the FBI said.

“After a thorough review of forensic data and information obtained from our Philippine law enforcement partners, the FBI has assessed that terrorism subject, Zulkifli Abdhir … is deceased and has been removed from the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists,” David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, told CNN in a statement.

 

Marwan was accused of being a me member of a southeast Asian terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah’s central command.

FBI Believes ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ Killed in Air Strike in Philippines

Zulkifli bin Hir

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists is believed to be dead following a raid in the Philippines last week, Reuters reports.

The FBI collected body matter at the scene of the deadly raid, and a DNA sample shows a strong link to Zulkifli bin Hir.

Still, the tests don’t prove with certainty that the body matter belonged to Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah militant group behind numerous bombing attacks in the Philippines.

The decision to conduct the raid to capture bin Hir was a costly one, ending in the deaths of 44 police commandos and undoing a three-year ceasefire with Muslim rebels.

Authorities also believed they killed bin Hir three years ago in an air strike, but he emerged to the surprise of the U.S.

 

FBI Assists Investigation into Disappearance of 43 College Students in Mexico

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

The FBI is beginning to help investigate the disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico, even as evidence recently surfaced that the country’s government may have been involved in rounding up the young people, NBC News reports.

The students, who were training to be teachers, vanished on Sept. 26 after protesting for more funds.

American scientists are helping analyze DNA evidence to determine whether bodies found in a mass grave in October are those of the missing students.

Prosecutors alleges that local officials were behind the disappearance. Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife and dozen of local officials have been jailed, accused of turning the students over to a local drug cartel, Guerreros Unidos, which grows opium poppies for heroin that is shipped to the U.S.

Investigative reporter Anabel Hernandez believes the Mexican government played a significant role in the disappearance.

“The government knew exactly what was happening,” she said, citing documents and cell phone videos that revealed the presence of federal police during the disappearance.

The Mexican government has denied any involvement.

New Technology Will Enable Law Enforcement Officers to Quickly Analyze DNA Swabs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Awaiting DNA results can be frustrating for law enforcement.

But the FBI hopes to change that by expediting the process using the government’s new biometric identification database, Biometric Update reports.

The FBI is accelerating the collection of DNA profiles for the Next Generation Identification System. Law enforcement officers will be able to take DNA swabs from suspects using a portable machine that is designed to create matches within 90 minutes.

That means officers will be able to run tests while temporarily detaining a suspect.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that police officers have the right to capture and analyze a cheek swab just like they have the right to take fingerprints or photographs.

DNA Evidence Brings FBI Closer to Solving Decades-Old ‘Gypsy Hill Murders’ Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The brutal killing of five women in the San Francisco Bay Area beginning in 1976 became known as the “Gypsy Hill Murders.”

Now the FBI has a person of interest in the unsolved murders because of a cigarette butt recovered from an unrelated crime scene, the New York Daily News reports.

Halbower began serving time in prison in Nevada on a rape conviction in 1976.

But new DNA evidence suggests Halbower may have been involved in the murder of Michelle Mitchell, whose death was pinned on Cathy Woods.

Woods faces a new trial because of the latest DNA evidence.

“It’s a set of circumstances that kind of came together perfectly and that’s, a lot of the time, what breaks cases,” Reno Deputy Police Chief Mac Venzon said.